U.S. energy chief says Biden would veto House Republican bill on oil reserve

By Steve Holland, Timothy Gardner and Nandita Bose WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden will veto a bill by U.S. House of Representatives Republicans on the

Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) if it passes Congress, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Monday. In a letter last week, Granholm warned Republicans that limiting

the Democratic president's authority to tap the nation's oil reserves would undermine national security, cause crude oil shortages, and raise gasoline prices. "He will not

allow the American people to suffer because of the backwards agenda that House Republicans are advancing" Granholm, speaking to reporters at a White House briefing, said of Biden.

The bill, called HR21, would prohibit the energy secretary from tapping the SPR without producing a plan to increase oil and gas leasing on federal lands - unless the

release is for a severe oil supply emergency. The House, which Republicans control by a narrow margin, is expected to vote on the bill as soon as this week. The legislation

would face an uphill battle in the Senate, controlled by Democrats. Republican lawmakers say they are concerned that last year's releases from the SPR, the biggest amount

of crude oil from any president, have deteriorated the ability to store, pipe and pump oil at the SPR, which holds crude across series of underground natural caverns on the Texas

and Louisiana coasts. "We would like to curtail use of the SPR for only those situations where there's a severe supply interruption," a Republican aide to the House

Committee on Energy and Commerce told reporters.